Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Big Girl's War On Obesity


The Big Girl Chronicles:  The Big Girl’s War On Obesity

The Big Girl was among the millions who included weight loss on the list of New Year Resolutions.  My vision was to become a new and improved, leaner version of myself, and I was a blazing inferno at the onset of the year, having dropped just over 10 lbs at my leanest.  At my mid-year goal check, I find that I now hold a place among the millions who have also fizzled out and reestablished a relationship with my former fat body and the extra pound she made friends with while I was away.  Oh, well.  I’ve pushed that cute little outfit I rewarded myself with to the back of the closet.  Not wanting my failure to be considered a total loss, I’ve decided to describe it instead as a pause – which is really the best way to explain it as weight is an ongoing struggle for anyone who aspires to manage it responsibly.  And in pausing, I have to retrace the series of events that led my plump behind in this circle.  This is what I’ve discovered about myself and my perceptions. 

Reality.  Check.

Once I made up my mind that I wanted to shed some weight, I began exercising and researching meal plans that I could tolerate to meet my goals.  Knowing that weighing myself would cause disappointment, I relied more on how my clothing fit than to be bothered with actual pounds as read by a scale.  As I noticed more room I became so excited thinking I’d at least dropped one pant or dress size with all the leeway I seemed to have in my current size.  Imagine how shocked I was to discover that I hadn’t lost quite enough to drop a size at all!  I was thinking that this couldn’t possibly be accurate.  So I had to take another look at my clothes and what I learned blew my mind.  I’d been buying elastic waist pants, skirts and clothing that didn’t give an actual number as a size.  “So what?” you’re probably thinking.  It turns out that I was actually delusional about what my exact size really is!  What I’d been doing  - for exactly how long I’m not sure – is stuffing myself into “a size.”  As I slimmed down, I imagine  I finally actually fit correctly into “a size” I refused to accept was actually too small to start with.  I’m laughing hilariously at myself while I’m typing this, but I’m also so much more empathetic of others who struggle with weight.  This has been quite an eye-opening experience.

I’ve been taking myself for granted.

There was a time when I had uber high adrenaline and could eat all those unhealthy and calorie packed goodies like pizza and cheeseburgers (my temptation – don’t forget the fries), not to mention all those super calorie-rich desserts, without much consideration for weight gain and health concerns.  That was before children and real life.  Now I have to constantly wrestle with those temptations.  Yet, this was one area where I was taking for granted that I’d continue my routines at the level of intensity and dedication I had when the pounds were dropping.  I would cheat on my meal plans more often than I care to think about because I had lost “x” amount of pounds and was going to hit the gym each day.  Now in hindsight I realize that had I have been more disciplined and stuck with my meal plan honestly, eating properly would be more of a habit now.   Had I have planned (there’s that word again) for those times I’d be unable to get to the gym as faithfully because of other responsibilities,  perhaps there would be a lot less gain also.  I’d decided it wasn’t necessary to become a calorie-counting obsessed maniac to lose weight and enjoyed a “eat at your own risk” ethic in dieting to my detriment. 

In January I posted The Big Girl’s Guide to Fitness Motivation and mentioned a strategy for adhering to an exercise regimen and healthy diet. One of the things that keeps The Big Girl from growing into what I consider an ideal woman is that I don’t discipline myself to do the things I know are necessary to maintain the level of responsibility that accompanies womanhood.  With regard to my trek to lose weight, I’m once again at a standstill with 20/20 hindsight.  It’s one thing to recycle information of which we’re all aware.  It’s a completely different thing to actually put that information into use and do so consistently and successfully.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Big Girl's Guide to Accountability


The Big Girl Chronicles:  The Big Girl’s Guide to Accountability

If you’ve ever spoken with someone about a relationship gone wrong, chances are you’ve been lulled or courted rather than given the truth about the situation.  I came into an awareness of this after having listened to myself try to explain away a failed relationship once.  My entire conversation was about how I’d been the most reasonable person and there was absolutely no way that any of what went wrong could’ve possibly been my fault.  The more I thought about what I’d done, the more I began to listen to others talk about failed relationships in their lives.  Whether that relationship was with an employer, business associate, friend or relative, it seems my goal in explaining why the relationship ended is more to get the listeners’ favor rather than give an actual account of events.  That could seem ideal, but I’ve found it to be something impossible to grow from.  The more I learn about my tendency to avoid accountability, the more challenged I am to overcome it.  This is how I got started.

Listen to yourself.

The first thing I had to do was check my language.  Anytime I discussed a failed relationship, I usually would explain all the things that I did that could be considered “right.”  I also noticed that when sharing about the other’s role in the relationship, I tended to only mention things the other did that could be considered “wrong.”  It works like a charm each and every time.  The listener becomes empathetic and convinced that the other involved is completely at fault.  My halo and angelic glow verify that the other person or entity involved is nothing but a predatory mess that happened to my innocent, na├»ve self. 

Take ownership of your flaws.

The truth is that living under the illusion of perfection is easier to do than having to actually acknowledge character flaws and correct them.   Learning self-discipline and accountability is hard work.  Staring at the truth reflecting back at you in the mirror is difficult.  However, the benefit of growing through this personal challenge and building character is priceless.  My blog post from August 2012, “The Big Girl’s Guide to Falling in Love…With YOU!” summarized a bit of the personal struggle I’ve had with self-acceptance.  It could be that I lacked accountability because I’ve not ever dealt with myself realistically.  To cope with my imperfections I went to the opposite extreme and denied any imperfections at all rather than acknowledge them and challenge them head-on.    Taking ownership of my faults and imperfections led to a clearer perception of the situation, and actually gave more confidence in myself.  Once I was able to say, “This is the kind of person I am and this is where I fell short in the relationship,” I could more accurately pinpoint how both myself and the other party involved could’ve handled things better. 

Grow.

Confronting yourself realistically is the most difficult part of the process.  Once I did so things got tremendously easier.   Doing a self-assessment helped redirect my focus.  It was no longer important who was at fault or whether or not I’d “won” someone else’s sympathy or favor.    The facts of the situation are what they are.  And it was incredibly liberating to not have to rehearse my version of the story so that I’m not the one who appears to be the cause of the relationship’s demise. 

Accepting accountability isn’t something I notice very much of in today’s world.  I can’t begin to imagine why it seems society at large has instead mastered avoidance and denial rather than practicing accountability for their actions.  I laugh as I think about that because if there is any remote chance of some kind of positive reinforcement we are quick to speak up and say, “Yes, I did this.”  However, if negative connotations are involved with our actions we’re somehow not to blame by any means.   I’m not sure where this trend began in society, but I’d bet that most of the social ills that plague society now can be traced back to some person or group or entity not accepting responsibility for their actions or role in creating the problem.    And as long as it continues to work, we’ll continue to practice avoidance and denial rather than accountability.  

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Big Girl's Guide to Flirting


The Big Girl Chronicles:  The Big Girl’s Guide to Flirting

Being a fairly recent divorcee has for quite some time left me in somewhat of a guarded zone.  I’m still trying to recoup from having spent over a decade of my life with someone to being (for the most part) alone.  It wasn’t until shopping in the mall recently that I realized the time for mourning my loss has come to an end.  I saw the most gorgeous guy that I’d laid eyes on (who wasn’t a celebrity) and didn’t realize I was staring until my children told me.  He was with someone.  Were they “together” together?  Were they just siblings or friends?  That’s when I realized how far removed from the dating game and flirting I’d become.  Perhaps you’re something like me, not necessarily having gone through divorce but have found yourself a little rusty in meeting and mingling with the opposite sex.  I’ve thought up a strategy so that I don’t embarrass myself, but tactfully communicate that I’m single and approachable.  Let me share some points with you.

If he’s with someone…

This guy was too gorgeous to just let the opportunity pass.  And I’m not vain, but the girl he was with--- let’s just say he could’ve been with me.  Now, having learned that you never know who you’re going to need or who knows who, I didn’t want to offend the young lady he was with.  So instead of approaching the gentleman, I got the young lady’s attention and gave her a nice warm smile.  I asked her, “Are the two of you together?” I know that seems really strange.  She kind of looked at me like I was trying to flirt with her, but that’s ok.  She smiled shyly and let out a slow “yes.”  I looked at him and replied, “Then you’re a very lucky girl.  He’s gorgeous.”  He was totally taken.  He smiled and lit up the room.  Both of them thanked me (he more than once) and I walked away.  That was my first official “flirt” since the new millennium (literally), and if I had to score myself I’d give myself a “C” because I didn’t want to appear to flirt with her, but I still felt as though it went well.  He got my compliment and she didn’t appear offended.  Should there be a next time, I’ve decided that it was good to approach the female.  Make her feel comfortable so she doesn’t want to cause a scene if she happens to be that type of girl.  Then indirectly compliment her man. 

… Or if he appears to be alone…

So to test my approach again, I saw another gentleman that was quite handsome as well.  He was seated alone.  There was a purse in the seat next to him.  As I slid past him in the narrow rows of those movie theater seats, I asked if he were with someone, pointing out the purse in the seat next to his.  He was like, “oh, yeah” like I wanted to be seated there, which wouldn’t have been such a bad idea.  I again offered the same line:  “She’s a lucky girl.”  This guy’s smile was so incredible.  I swear I’d almost always flirt if I could get a handsome man to smile like that.  Anyway, after  I took my seat I took notice of a woman returning to join him.  Again, I’m not vain.  I promise you.  But this was clearly one of those women who’s been too busy to pay herself the attention she should.  She had on a wedding set.  Probably like I was, has a couple of kids and just trying to steal away some time to spend with the hubby.  Oblivious to someone eyeing her man while she’s away. It’s kind of weird since I’m on the flip side that I would think this way.  But he was quite a handsome gentleman.  He got up and left the theater during the previews, and I was ever so tempted to go out and try to follow through just to see how far it could’ve gone.  Only I don’t really want to add homewrecker to my repertoire, so I didn’t.  But back to the flirting, the smiles that I got from these guys let me know that I’m kind of on the right track.  Either the women these guys were with don’t make them feel special enough, or don’t realize what they have.  So ladies, if you’re reading this, DO tell your man how attractive he is.  I don’t care what else is going on, if you’re still with him you need to give him the attention that I would be more than happy to shower upon him.  This is what I think works best if you plan on being a flirt.

Be subtle.

One thing you want to consider when flirting is the kind of man you want to attract.  If you employ cheap, tactless methods such as baring cleavage or “accidentally on purpose” physical contact and get a positive response, don’t then turn and complain or become insanely jealous when another person  does the  same and successfully garners his or her attention should the two of you become a couple.  Not only are you cluing him or her in to who you are and what you’re capable of, but you’re also getting a glimpse of what behavior can be expected.

Know when to walk away.

If your attempt at flirting is failing miserably, know when it’s time to walk away.  Unless you are a glutton for rejection, you’ll want to pick up on a definite “no” early to minimize embarrassment.  If there is that remote possibility that (s)he was just feeling too awkward to reciprocate your efforts, take a chance that (s)he will pick up where the two of you left off after (s)he reaches a level of comfort that will allow him or her to do so.  

Don’t take it personal.

Should your prodding for a possible connection not produce positive results, don’t get offended.  Remember that you initiated the act.  And in a world where you can never be sure what might happen, you don’t want to make a negative impression that could come back to bite you in the butt should the two of you happen to become coworkers or whatever situation life might find you in together.  Keep it pleasant and amicable.

If you’re a little rusty in the area of flirting, getting noticed can be quite challenging.  But don’t lose heart!  After all, you never know when a flirtatious wink or smile could prove rewarding.  And if you get rejected, learn from the experience and make improvements.  Good luck!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Big Girl Chronicles TURNS ONE!!!


The Big Girl Chronicles BIRTHDAY!!! 

While our country is pausing to commemorate its independence, The Big Girl is also celebrating one year in the Blogosphere!  I would like to take this opportunity to extend a Thank You to all who have taken a moment to entertain posts from my blog.  Emotional Maturity… Self-Love and Acceptance… Healthy Perspectives… Relationships… Flirting… FUN… These are a few of the things I’ve explored and included on my blog week after week.  To commemorate this milestone, I’ve decided to take a moment to reflect upon my blog activity.

The Big Girl’s Year In Review

My very first post “Overcoming Divorce” was in many ways a beginning from an ending, if that makes any sense at all.  Having found myself facing a divorce, I realized just how unprepared for life on my own I was.  I’d not matured very much.  Nor had I planned.  What I had managed to do was meander from one role to another and from one state of dependence to another, getting by.  

Additionally, I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the accompanying change in lifestyle.  Living at this level of poverty has been a “wowing” experience. Resources that make managing limited income month to month a little easier have been described in what I refer to as the LISP (Low Income/Single Parent) Report.   Being made aware of how decisions made in government directly affect these resources makes it more important than ever to pay attention to politics and the news.  In between reports about the job market and economy there were other stories shared that were so compelling I had to include my 2 cents, and did so in You Said A Mouthful…

Among the most valuable of realizations I’ve had is that I am a resource within myself.  To minimize dependence, you have to “get your hustle on.”  Those talents that you possess can be used to help tie ends together when income is uncertain. Embellishments not only provided a snapshot of beautiful things I wish I could afford to purchase and trendy little inexpensive “happys”, but also hobbies and interests that haven’t been fully explored.  “Creative Income” can make a world of difference.  Although I haven’t sold handmade jewelry recently, that’s definitely a skill worth keeping.

Taking time to reconnect with old associates and/or establishing a new network of friends isn't always easy.  After having been uprooted from a life I expected to have settled in, there have also been changes in who I’m friends with.  The task can be made easier with activities like the Booklovers.Club (and I have such a renewed appreciation for my public library!)or a dinner club.  Whatever activity that is both inexpensive and socially rewarding is definitely a “do.”  

Other pages I’ve added like Spotlight help celebrate the accomplishments of others.  It’s so important to not be so self-absorbed in unpleasant circumstances that I can’t be happy for anyone else.  Snippets and Poetree are fun ways to play around with my creativity. 

Ultimately, I’m nowhere near where I thought I’d be from this blog’s point of origin to this present time.  Not physically.  But I can’t truthfully deny that there has been tremendous personal growth.  What the future holds is yet to be told.  But unlike before when I was waiting on my future to happen to me, this time I expect to happen to it.  Hope you’ll be following!